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Cell. 2004 Oct 29;119(3):381-92.

Requirement of DDX3 DEAD box RNA helicase for HIV-1 Rev-RRE export function.

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Molecular Virology Section, Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


A single transcript in its unspliced and spliced forms directs the synthesis of all HIV-1 proteins. Although nuclear export of intron-containing cellular transcripts is restricted in mammalian cells, HIV-1 has evolved the viral Rev protein to overcome this restriction for viral transcripts. Previously, CRM1 was identified as a cellular cofactor for Rev-dependent export of intron-containing HIV-1 RNA. Here, we present evidence that Rev/CRM1 activity utilizes the ATP-dependent DEAD box RNA helicase, DDX3. We show that DDX3 is a nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling protein, which binds CRM1 and localizes to nuclear membrane pores. Knockdown of DDX3 using either antisense vector or dominant-negative mutants suppressed Rev-RRE-function in the export of incompletely spliced HIV-1 RNAs. Plausibly, DDX3 is the human RNA helicase which functions in the CRM1 RNA export pathway analogously to the postulated role for Dbp5p in yeast mRNA export.

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